Cornell skips rebuilding, goes straight to re-loading
This was the year Cornell was supposed to give way to some of its Ivy League counterparts and fade into rebuilding mode. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Big Red.
No. 7 Cornell’s 10-9 victory over No. 8 Princeton gave the program at least a share of the last seven Ivy League regular-season championships and eight of the last nine. Although the team (9-4) will share this season’s crown with the Tigers (9-4), No. 9 Brown (8-5) and No. 16 Yale (10-3), the Big Red continues to prosper despite graduating its starting midfield of 2009 Tewaaraton Award winner Max Seibald, John Glynn and Rocco Romero, defenseman Matt Moyer and goalkeeper Jake Myers.
"I give our guys credit this year," coach Jeff Tambroni said. "We’ve gone through some difficult times this year and lost in some tough games within our league, but they’ve been a very resilient group. … Coming into this season, there was the label, ‘The Team Without,’ because we graduated so many talented guys, some of Cornell’s all-time greats. I think they just made it a point to compete and play as a group and not to necessarily have that one or two marquee guys on the team. They used it as motivation, and they never doubted the journey."
Cornell has beaten Princeton, Yale, No. 15 Stony Brook and No. 19 Army, leading to speculation that even if the Big Red should falter in Friday’s semifinal round of the Ivy League Tournament, the team’s resume is impressive enough to warrant an at-large bid.
As pleasing as that would be, Tambroni said the team would like to remove any doubt from the selection committee.
"We certainly don’t want to take any chances," he said. "We want to put our best foot forward by winning the Ivy League Tournament. … Looking at some of the wins we’ve had, Stony Brook’s having a great year, Princeton’s having a great year, Army beating Navy a couple times, including this past weekend, has helped our cause. So with the combination of the strength of our league and our non-league schedule, I think we’ve put ourselves at least in a quality position in those discussions. So I’m hopeful that regardless of what happens, we’ll be in strong consideration."
Due to an elaborate series of tiebreakers, Cornell gets to host this year’s Ivy League Tournament and will meet Yale in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. Princeton and Brown will battle in the first semifinal at 5 p.m.
Tambroni did not seem to take much solace in playing host this weekend.
"In most years, that’s a huge advantage," he said. "You’re on your home field, inside of your locker room, inside of your film room with all of the resources you need to prepare. … But having said that, I look back at our record, and we’re 1-1 at neutral sites, 4-3 at home and 4-0 on the road. So this team has not done as well as we have typically done. This year, we’ve been OK, and part of that has to do with we’ve had Virginia and Syracuse come to town. But the other part of that is that we have not defended our home turf as well as we would have liked. So we’ll see what kind of an advantage it is when the weekend is over."